Star Trek: The Next Generation - Q & A

by Keith R. A. DeCandido

The thing about Star Trek novels, for me, is that they’re sort of like Caribbean cruises: you get a taste of the exotic, but you do so from a safe, comfortable environment.

Keith R. A. DeCandido’s Q & A, his latest addition to the Star Trek: the Next Generation collection is no exception. In fact, it’s like the part of the cruise that involves fruity drinks with cute umbrellas and dancing into the night, and that, really, is how it should be.

In this novel, we see a different side of Q, the part that actually has a purpose, and a motivation beyond just having fun – though fun is never ignored if it comes up – but we also get to have some emotional closure for the loss of Data in Nemesis, as Geordi warms to the woman who has his friend’s old job, and some story swapping and healthy reminiscing goes on. We have Picard and Beverly Crusher in an actual, healthy relationship, and we have the usual saving the universe story, and all that is wonderful.

But then DeCandido transcends wonderful, by mixing in references not just to every single appearance by Q in the television canon – EVER – but also by relating the plot to key moments from the show that many of us would never have expected.

If you’re any kind of fan, you’ll appreciate the in-jokes. If you’re not, you’ll still enjoy the story. Either way, for a good time, read Star Trek the Next Generation: Q & A as soon as you can.

Five For Friday: Formulaic.

While I confess, I’ve been known to mock formula romances like those offered by Silhouette and Harlequin, I also recognize that they’re great for quick escapist reading, perfect for the bathtub, and have helped a lot of really good writers get their starts in the industry. Besides, it’s a market dominated by women, and that’s never a bad thing.

For this week’s Five for Friday, then, I offer five characteristics of formula romance heroes:

  1. They’re handy. If they don’t have a workshop full of Ingersoll Rand air tools that they use with ease, they at least know how to change a tire, unclog a sink, and chop firewood, all without ever staining their shirts.
  2. They cook. Granted it’s usually one meal like steak or an omelet, but they do it really well, and are proud of their achievement in the kitchen.
  3. They twinkle. Oh, I don’t mean Dumbledore-esque twinkling, I mean that there’s a reason some people call these books “twinkling brown eyes” novels.
  4. They’re debt free. Oh, they might have business trouble, or they might be poor, but you never read about them freaking over not being able to pay their Visa bill.
  5. They communicate with their mothers. There’s just something about romance novel heroes and their mothers – they all have parents who give good advice that they actually listen to, or who manage to somehow help them seal the deal with the heroines of these novels, who generally don’t have mothers of their own.